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My husband and I live in Vancouver, British Colombia. When renewal time for our lease came up my landlord, of 2 years, increased our rent by 7.5%. He said that the was forced to by the bank. My husband and I are American citizens living in Canada and, at the time, we were not aware of the landlord tenant act so we signed the new lease (about 2.5 weeks ago) and went on with our lives. Later a friend informed us of the landlord tenant act.

Question 1: Do we still have any legal right to dispute the rent increase?

Question 2: Under this act could he raise our rent by 3% every 3 months? Could we possibly make the situation worse by contesting the increase?

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British Columbia has a Residential Tenancy Branch to help you understand your rights and manage disputes between tenants and landlords. You should contact them, but briefly, here is some info from their website.

Re: Standard Rent Increases

A tenant does not have to pay an increase that is higher than the amount allowed by law. Instead, the tenant can give the landlord documents showing the allowable amount or apply for dispute resolution asking for an order that the landlord comply with the law, as long as the increase wasn’t granted through dispute resolution.

The tenant may deduct from future rent any overpayment – only if the tenant has already paid an increase higher than the legal amount. The tenant should attach a note to the rent to explain the reason for not paying the amount that the landlord has asked for.

However, the landlord can increase it beyond the maximum increase for the year with your voluntary consent (additional rent increases):

To raise the rent above the maximum annual amount, the landlord must have either the tenant’s written agreement or an order from the Residential Tenancy Branch.

If the tenants agree to an additional rent increase, the landlord must issue to each tenant a Notice of Rent Increase along with a copy of their signed letter indicating their agreement to the increase. Tenants must be given three full months' notice of the increase.

Increases can happen only once per year.

  • Sorry, I'm confused. Does the fact that we already signed a lease with the new rent amount constitute voluntary consent? – user2995562 May 13 '16 at 21:47
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    It might (I don't know the RTB's precedents), but that would only let the landlord give you the 3 months notice of the increase, not immediately increase the rent. The board is great. Call them and they'll assist you. – user3851 May 13 '16 at 22:01
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To be clear, the Landlord-Tenant Act or Residential Tenancy Act is a statute. The terms in the legislation are to be treated as mandatory contractual terms. You should indicate that the lease should be superseded by the legislation. The contract should be void because you were not given three months notice.

You may hurt the relationship with the landlord if you contest this, so try to work it out privately. The Board that handles these cases is easy to submit to, so a threat to sue is very credible.

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